Interview: what is coaching all about?

As you may have noticed, I am a fan of coaching. It helped me to better know my skills and my values and gave me the confidence boost I needed to finally start this blog. However, before this experience, I used to doubt that coaching could make any difference. I decided to write a series of articles about the topic, starting with Carine Andrey, founder of Agilem, and her associate Anne-Thérèse Ventura, who talk about what coaching is and give some tips to find a good coach.

[Have more questions? Would like to know the view from other coaches? Send me a message! I have a few other articles on the topic  in the pipeline and I’ll be more than happy to hear your feedback!]


Bonjour Geneva: For some people, there seems to be no difference between coaching and self help books… what can you actually get from coaching?

Anne Thérèse Ventura: you may be tempted to read a lot of excellent books about self development, auto coaching, miracle morning... sure these books are great, very inspiring. But after you read them… nothing really concrete happens. That is where working with a coach makes a huge difference.

Carine Andrey: The beauty of coaching is that you get things moving forward. At the end of each session, you have identified a few actions, very concrete actions. Coaching is not triggering a big bang, it’s about small, realistic and applicable steps that make a huge difference.

Bonjour Geneva: So, what is coaching after all? What is it all about?

Carine Andrey worked in talent development at multinationals before becoming a coach 

Carine Andrey worked in talent development at multinationals before becoming a coach 

Carine: Coaching focuses on where you are now to help you take action to arrive where you want to be in the future. It is a true partnership, in a thought-provoking and creative process, that encourages you to search for options. It's a process of personal awareness and exploration leading you into action mode.  

Anne-Thérèse: Coaching is a profession, yes it is! And like for any profession, there is an educational curriculum, a set of validated competencies and a significant amount of experience involved.

Nowadays you can find people claiming to be a coach in almost everything. Anyone can call themselves a coach, that’s why it is important to make sure your coach is certified.

Anne-Thérèse Ventura has over 20 years of experience in HR in the public and private sectors

Anne-Thérèse Ventura has over 20 years of experience in HR in the public and private sectors


Bonjour Geneva: So, can you explain how coaching can help women in a moment of transition, such as moving to a new country to accompany a partner or resuming professional life after a family-dedicated break?

Carine: A coach can help you look at your challenges from different angles. A good coach will ask you the questions that will open up perspectives and find options and solutions for the problems you are faced with. This will save you time and energy, and keep you moving much faster in the direction you want to go.

Bonjour Geneva: What should our readers look for when choosing a coach?

Anne-Thérèse: First, check that your coach holds a coaching certification recognized by ICF (International Coaching Federation), an international guarantee of quality. In Geneva and surroundings, a reference in the market is IDC, a coaching institute delivering an excellent and well-recognized training curriculum. Certified coaches who invested in this training and successfully passed the certification can be definitely trusted.

Also, it’s OK to ask for a free of charge trial session if the coach does not propose it to you. At the end of the day, what will make a difference is the chemistry. Let's be clear, will you be willing to share personal stuff and challenges with someone we have no connection with?

Carine: Last but not least, ask for details about the process. Coaching is not a never-ending process. 10 to 12 hours of coaching is a decent plan. And ask about the code of conduct and ethics the coach adheres to. If the answer is: a code of what?.... run away!

Feeling inspired, or simply motivated to learn more? Carine and Anne-Thérèse will be happy to talk to you. They provide coaching in French or English and have experience supporting managers, mumpreneurs and mum'ployees to achieve their goals. Check their website for more info or contact them at